Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot provides opportunity for husband, wife to reunite

Program a life changer

A program that brings immigrant workers to the North Okanagan is also reuniting couples.

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot not only allowed Jorel Aguiluz to work in Vernon, it made it possible to reunite with his wife.

For months, Aguiluz and his wife were apart, but now they're back together and can’t wait to start a family in Vernon.

A year ago, Aguiluz, a technical account executive at SysGen Solutions Group, had reached a crossroads.

After studying at Okanagan College in Kelowna and working in construction, he landed a job at SysGen – a managed IT services provider. But, with only a post-graduation work permit in his name, his wife was stuck in the Philippines.

“I heard about the RNIP program through my client, Community Futures North Okanagan. They asked me if I wanted to apply, but I didn’t accept their offer at first,” says Aguiluz. “My wife had been applying for work and tourist permits, but we couldn’t get her here.”

After more than a year of working in IT in the Okanagan, in November 2020 Aguiluz made the difficult decision to return to the Philippines. But, by May 2021, he knew he wanted to bring his family back to Canada. And this time, he had the right avenue to do it.

After submitting RNIP paperwork in June 2021, Aguiluz received authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in September, and his wife came with him.

The couple now have permanent residency status.

“It feels so much better. I can work and do anything I want to now,” Aguiluz says. “We can stay here. We’re not worried anymore.”

For Aguiluz, that means continuing to work at SysGen and using his decade of experience in IT to help non-profits, entrepreneurs and local organizations strengthen their business.

“Clients who had worked with Jorel previously were very happy to have him back and new clients love his very personable approach to IT support,” says Ben Mihailescu, field services manager with SysGen.

“Jorel is as genuine as they come and gets along with everyone he meets. We really appreciate him as an employee because he can connect with our clients in the Okanagan and solve complex technology problems in plain language for everyone to understand.”

Aguiluz says they plan on applying for citizenship and are trying to save up to buy their first house so they can grow their family.

But, before that, Aguiluz says they have one more goal they want to achieve.

“We’re planning on bringing my sister and my parents here, even just as tourists, so they can see how beautiful the Okanagan is,” Aguiluz says.

More Vernon News